My morning devotional ritual is to begin each day with the morning office from Phyllis Tickle’s classic The Divine Hours, which usually includes several Psalms, a Gospel reading, the Lord’s Prayer followed by a Prayer of the Week and a daily prayer. My favorite Psalms are the ones that focus on bringing praises to God early in the morning.
Psalm 92 is a great example of this, particularly with the rendition provided by Eugene Peterson in The Message where he begins with:
What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks, to sing an anthem to you, the High God. To announce your love each daybreak, sing your faithful presence all through the night, Accompanied by dulcimer and harp, the full-bodied music of strings. Psalm 92:1-3
This is an opportunity to praise God for all our creator has done and is doing in our lives. We have the opportunity to announce the “Good News” early in the day, before the bad news of the world arrives at our doorstep, before we turn on the TV to witness the barrage of more “bad news,” before our social media newsfeeds are filled with even more bad news. If we are truly faithful, we can continue singing the faithfulness of God and the “Good News” well into the evening just like a band of troubadours with their stringed instruments serenading us with God’s Grace and Love.
Several years ago, I began a process every morning that I call “Backwards Lectio” where I first encounter the Word of God myself. Then, I go in search of an image that represents what God is showing me visually through the Word. I then post the passage(s) and image on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I have been amazed at some of the responses I have received from around the world telling me how the post inspired them in that moment or for them to do the same in their own personal devotional time. I even have had people check in with me if I haven’t posted anything by mid-morning.
I am also fascinated by the fourteenth verse, which states “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age.” The verse could be speaking of me (beginning this practice well into my 50’s) or it could refer to the Psalm itself standing strong through the millennium. Either way, God is faithful from age to age!
Rev. Greg Smith is Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Brenham, Texas, outside of Houston. If you are in the Brenham area, Greg would love to have you stop by to worship with them
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